THE EXPLAINED MR. RIPLEY: A few people have wondered about this page's title--it's from the line in the film The Talented Mr. Ripley (which I still didn't like, despite the really cool Hitchcock-esque opening credits) when the invented-for-the-movie character Meredith (played by Cate Blanchett) reports (unhappily) that she is traveling with "Aunt Joan and co. [as in company, though she pronounces it as if it rhymes with Poe]--lots of co." I thought it was a really great, catty line and thus history is made.
KCPR: My good friend and noted bon vivant Kevin Cooper Ray visited from New York and brought his usual array of great celebrity stories, bon mots, and killer catchphrases. My two favorites: "That [insert item/concept here] is major!" (This will be my highest compliment in 2000) and "This outfit is a story in [insert fabric/color here]."
Practice at home with these examples:
"The majorness of your mother is so major." (Actual overheard quote-and you must pronounce it MAY-juh and in a deep, not-too-enthusiastic voice.)
"Wow, Ben--you are a story in brown today." (Advanced users may wish to add: "And that duct tape wallet is major.")
Y2K: Instead of having my planned quiet evening at home, I actually went to the Toomer's 2000 celebration two nights ago with some friends. Amazingly (to me, anyway), I had a pretty good time. It wasn't incredibly crowded, I saw lots of folks I knew, and there was a good, mellow vibe going on. And how much of a non-story was all this Y2K crap? I can't believe I got so worked up for nothing when the most serious glitch to occur was this. On the plus side, though, I ran my fastest time ever on December 31--an average 8.6 minutes per mile over a 5.5 mile distance. Nothing great, I know, but considering my physical condition before I started running less than a year ago, it's something I choose to be proud of.
LISTS: Here's the last one of these things that I will force upon you (and probably the last one I will bother reading for a while).
POKE-NEWS: I am continuing to find Pokemon episodes oddly compelling, and fear I must seek professional help. Though I have never been into anime at all, I am fascinated by much of Japanese pop culture. While Keroppi and his Sanrio buddies reign supreme in the "cute Japanese cartoon animal" pantheon, one cannot deny the almost unbearable cuteness of Pikachu. However, I still await an explanation for the existence (and appeal) of this one--I mean, it's a ROCK.
RESOLUTIONS: More significant than another old resolution, I wrote my "mission statement" for 2000 on December 31. I am too self-conscious to show it to anyone right now, but in a nutshell, it deals with behaviors and ways of thinking that I am not going to tolerate in myself or in those around me any more. The whole concept of the mission statement is explained in a helpful book called First Things First, which gave me a much-needed rational perspective on my own life and which I recommend highly.
POLITICS: If you have never read anything by Christopher Hitchens, I suggest you start immediately with this article about the 2000 elections... speaking of that, I'm still gunning hard (despite my avowed liberalism) for John McCain. Haven't picked a candidate yet? Better hurry!
FUN & GAMES: I find it distressing whenever anything involving negative publicity surrounds The Simpsons, which should be lauded daily for requiring its viewers to have intelligence, a sense of humor, and the ability to appreciate irony. You might not believe this, but the only other cartoon series I have ever loved with such fervor is Peanuts--but old-skool Peanuts, before it got so weak and Snoopy-centered. I hope Charles Schulz (who has always seemed like such a deeply sad man in interviews) enjoys his retirement.